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Weekends With Alex Witt

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Us 25, Washington 15, Alex 11, Morris 9, Obama 8, Pentagon 8, Boris 6, New York City 6, Florida 6, Oscar Pistorius 6, Alex Witt 5, New York 5, Garth 5, Pistorius 4, Buk 4, America 4, Kansas 4, Advair 4, Legalzoom 4, Bjorn 3,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business. New.  

    February 23, 2013
    9:00 - 11:00am PST  

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republicans with just six days until the painful across the board budget cuts take effect, if no deal can be reached to avert the sequester. >> are republicans in congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kid' schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners? are they really willing to slash military health care and the border patrol just because they refuse to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies? are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top? >> meantime, republicans are defending their record, putting the blame on the president. senator john hobin of north dakota delivered this week's republican address. >> house republicans have already passed two bills to replace the president's sequester. so the question is, why won't he work with us? and the answer quite simply is because he wants higher taxes. >> let's go to the white house and nbc's kristen welker. another good saturday to you,
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kristen. let's talk about the president, what he's doing this weekend to help broker some sort of a deal to avoid the sequester taking effect on friday. >> reporter: alex, good afternoon. the president says he's going to have conversations with members of congress and throughout the week. but so far the limited conversations they have had have yielded no results. both sides are dug in it seems increasingly likely the sequester will kick in. on friday president obama met with the prime minister of japan, and he answered some questions from journalists as you can imagine, many of them about the sequester. one person asking him, is it inevitable the sequester will go into effect? here's what he had to say. take a listen. >> i never think that anything's inevitable. we always have the opportunity to make the right decisions. i hope is that we can see a different course taken by congress. this should be a no-brainer. >> reporter: now in order to pressure congress to act, the obama administration has really been painting a dire picture of
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what would happen if the sequester did in fact kick in. on friday out going transportation secretary lahood spoke to reporters. he warned that the faa would have to furlough 47,000 employees. la hood said that could mean that air travel would be slowed. here's what la hood had to say. >> travelers should expect delays. flights to major cities, like new york, chicago and san francisco and others, could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because we have fewer controllers on staff. >> reporter: now the administration has also warned that 800,000 civilian defense department workers would be fur loued, 10,000 teachers and educators could be laid off. some border patrol agents would see a decrease in hours. now on friday, house speaker john boehner's office responded to our inquiries for a reaction to all of this. and they responded by saying the
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president is "far more interested in holding campaign-style rallies than urging his party in the senate to find a solution." alex, the sticking points are very familiar. they're the same sticking points that we've been talking about in a lot of these budget battles. president obama is demanding more revenue from taxes. republicans say they want to deal with this issue through entitlement reform and through spending cuts. they're also accusing the white house of using scare tactics to try to get something accomplished here. the white house denies those claims, but i can tell you there's a lot of finger pointing going back and forth and very little action. six days out and no resolution in sight. alex? >> okay, kristen welker, thank you for that rather dismal update there from the white house, appreciate that. joining me now, democratic congressman matt cartwright of depends. representative cartwright, thank you for being here. >> alex, my pleasure, how are you today? >> i'm well, thank you. but we've got to get to this business of the sequester. i know that you've described
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lawmakers as being on vacation when they dealing with the the sequester. it's hanging over the economy. and you say like the airplane we are flying is going down and we're taking a break to watch the in-flight movie. so what are you talking about? is this sort of a lack of urgency from both sides? because there's no incentive for democrats nor republicans to cut a deal here? >> i am not saying that at all, alex. i'm saying that the house leadership on the republican side, which controls the schedule, controls the calendar, they have every power to bring us back to d.c., to go back to our desks on the floor of the house and work out the problem. with ten days to go before the ridiculous sequester takes place, we don't get called back to washington. instead, we have what we call a district work week scheduled. in other words, people are
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working on things other than averting this sequester. i think it's ridiculous. i think that even to see the republican house leadership working hardest on blaming president obama for the sequester is foolish. what we have is speaker boehner making posters about president obama trying to call it the obama-quester, sort of the way they did with obama care, making all the blame the president's. well, here's the problem. when two sides agree to a deal, to a stopgap measure like the sequester, if they both agreed to it how is it the fault of one more than the other? what we have going on right now -- >> can't you even look -- look you're a freshman congressman. there was a lot of hope, a lot of sense of change, things might be different. i know a lot of you came in saying, we're going to make a difference now. do you get any sense that both sides want to work together to
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try to resolve this problem? >> oh, alex, i get a sense that not only is there a feeling among all of the freshman democrats and republicans that we want to come together and find a way out of this ridiculous sequester situation, i get that sense from republicans who are senior in the ranks, higher-up republicans, higher-up democrats. i believe that there are a lot of people in the house who do want to get together and work on this. we need to be in washington rolling up our sleeves and tackling this problem, but house republican leadership is not inviting us back to work on it. it's ridiculous. >> but you are back in on monday. so you have what, four days before it kicks in what's going to get done? if you're correct, if you're saying there are a lot of people, what is it the majority that you sense or just a powerful few that seem to be digging in their heels? give me a sense of that and
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whether you think this thing will get done by friday. >> well, there's no doubt there are some hard liners from the right who actually think it would be a good idea for the sequester to take place. i think that's outrageous. we're talking about a sequester. the last program before the top of the hour you had somebody describing the economy like a cancer patient. well, you can use that analogy here. the sequester with indiscriminate cuts means that you've got to cut something out. all we're giving the surgeon is a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel. nobody in any kind of responsible position would let that sques fer go through. the fact there are some members of congress who would like to see the sequester go through, i find that absolutely astonishing. and i think that it has to be replaced with something sensible. >> but even beyond the politicians, let's look at folks
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in your particular community who are going to hear about all sorts of things, from the fact that there are going to be meat inspectors that are furloughed so we're not sure about the quality and availability of our meat, the air traffic controllers, lahood transportation secretary saying we're going to have delays, not even clear what kind of security problems that poses. and toby an hannah army depot looking to close in your district, 1,000 furloughs there. the national guard is going to send out notices as early as friday. reaction from your constituents. how's that going? >> i'm very proud to represent the 5400 families who are supported by the toby hannah army depot. they do incredibly good communications refurbishing work for army equipment. and yes, they would be facing stark cuts for no good reason. and here's the problem. it doesn't just hurt our economy, which is in its fragile
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recovery. it doesn't just hurt jobs, which it would in my district as in many other districts that depend on defense spending. it hurts our nation's military preparedness. we don't want to be doing this. we want to be doing something sensible. we need to get back to washington. and we're counting on the republican house leadership to come to its senses, stop blaming each other, and find our way forward out of this mess. >> all right. well, we'll be watching come monday. democratic congressman from pennsylvania, matt cartwright, thanks so much for your time. appreciate it. >> my pleasure. coming up in our next hour we'll hear from republican congressman marcia blackburn of tennessee. we'll get her take on all the looming cuts. northern new england bracing for its third winter storm in three weeks in kansas people are digging out right now after that storm dumped about a foot of snow on them. look at the snow. it is too much for the roof at this local business. that's a mess right there.
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dillon dryer, good day to you. >> good day to you. the problem with the the storms they seem to hit area over and over again new england will get know tonight and tomorrow. missouri and kansas another storm next week. boston at 30 degrees right now. obviously we need things to cool off quite a bit before we start to see accumulating snow. in fact it does look like most of the day will be more or less a cold rain. same goes for new york city, too. we're not really going to see any accumulation around here. this has a lot of moisture with it streaming in from the gulf of mexico. we've seen several inches of rain already in portions of the southeast. and we could see an additional, two three inches of rain across southeastern georgia and into northern florida as well. as far as snowfall accumulation is concerned it's mostly interior england. six inches of snow, closer to nine in the higher elevations. but this is going to be more of
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a news an snowstorm than a big snowstorm. we are going to see our next snowstorm move in through the rockies and into the midwest early next week. and it could end up being another one of those storms that produces 6 to 12 inches of snow in areas like kansas city that are still digging out from the storm we had last week. alex? >> wow. okay. well, thanks for the head up on that, dylan. appreciate it. what can you do, right? let's go from there to south africa where olympian oscar pistorius is free on bail but not exactly a free man. surrendering his passport is just one of the many conditions pistorius must comply with as he awaits his trial on june 4th. a chief magistrate granted pistorius bail yesterday. he's accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend reeva steinkamp. michelle, good evening your time. let's talk about what life is going to be like for oscar pistorius until his trial begins. what do you know about that? >> reporter: well, he went back to his uncle's house after he was released on bail. now he's not allowed to go to
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his gated mansion which is also the scene of the alleged crime. so that's just one of many conditions as you said of his bail. still, he is free. and his coach is even talking about starting to train him again as soon as monday. oscar pistorius had reason to smile but didn't, heading home with his family out of jail. an international pack of photographers chased their suv all the way to his uncle's secure home. in the two-hour ruling was read friday keeping a packed courtroom and the world on the edge of its seat. >> the accused has made a case to be released on bail. >> reporter: the emotion flowed. pistorius sonned, his body shaking, his family overcome with relief, at one point holding hands and praying. >> we are relieved the fact that oscar got bail today. but at the same time, we are in mourning for the death of reeva
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with her family. >> reporter: a friend of victim reeva steinkamp was also in court. >> we prayed that justice will prevail. and we're still just very sad that we need to remember that somebody's lost their live. >> reporter: now a relative's home may be where pistorius will have to stay these next weeks, months, possibly more than a year leading up to trial. the judge ruled he will have to vendor his passports, guns, can't use drugs or alcohol. can't go back home. needs permission to leave town. will have to check in with police twice a week starting monday. this past week, pistorius's agent canceled all his upcoming races. sponsors including nike suspended their contract with him. yet his long time coach says he wants him to start training again immediately. >> i think just to get his mind sort of clear. the sooner he can start the better. >> reporter: in court the judge said he has difficulties with parts of pistorius's story.
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why he rushed toward where pistorius claimed was terrifying danger, didn't ask who was in that bathroom, he fired into. never went searching for his girlfriend when he realized she wasn't in bed. but he ruled that a free pistorius is not a danger, and in this case won't run. he doesn't have to be back in court until june. and today an interview was published in the south african newspaper with the father of reeva steinkamp who said the only ones who really know what happened that morning are oscar pistorius and god and no matter how much money he has, how great his legal team is, he will have to live with his conscience and will suffer if he's not telling the truth. if he is telling the truth, her father said, he may one day be able to forgive pistorius. alex? >> okay. thank you so much from south africa. west coast headlines are next with a controversial tuition break and what's behind the startling about face by some republican governors on the president's health care law. ita.
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headlines making news out on the west coast. the oregonian front page story, controversial tuition break passes. it's about the house passing a bill to grant in-state tuition breaks to undocumented oregon high school graduates. the bill now goes to the senate which approved similar past bills. the governor has promised to sign it. and the seattle times has a story on a 1964 poeb mobile which is on display now at a tacoma museum. the stretch limousine carried pope paul vi during a 1995 visit to new york city. it was the first time a reigning pope ever came to the u.s. congress has six days to avoid the sequester impacts. evenly split between defense spending and domestic spending.
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they total $1.2 trillion over ten years, equal to $500 billion in the defense department budget, $1 billion to fema. more than $500 million in loan guarantees to small businesses would be cut. joining me now, msnbc contributor and managing editor joann reid and white house "washington post" reporter. joann we'll go ladies first here. what is the convention am wisdom on this? will an agreement be reached? >> you know what, the irony and the problem is on the republican side there are some republicans i think who kind of favor the sequester in a way. this is a way to get the austerity that they've long wanted, big sweeping budget cuts. but at the same time, on a lot of local levels you have districts where those defense cuts are really going to bite. so you have some folks that are hoping for carve outs or hoping to sort of avoid it for that reason. it's kind of almost at this point sort of a tossup.
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it's not clear where the republicans in the house stand. >> david, what about the political calculation here? as well as a policy calculation? where does the white house fall on both? >> you saw, alex, this week the president came out on tuesday and he had an event with first responder emergency responders saying their budgets are going to be cut. then the pentagon came out the next day and said we're going to have to lay off 800,000 civilian workers or furlough them one day a week. yesterday you had lahood, the transportation secretary come to the white house briefing room and say we're going to have delays in air traffic, shut down air traffic control. this tactic is because the white house recognizes they're trying to sway public opinion and put pressure from the outside on republicans. it's interesting. a poll came out just this week that said the vast majority of americans don't know a lot about these cuts that are coming down. the white house is trying to change that. the white house is still working, hoping for a deal. but i get a sense that most of washington and probably even at the white house they recognize we could go past the sequester at least for a few weeks, and there's going to be another chance late in march where the continuing spending resolution
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comes up or expires and they're going to have to negotiate deal on that. and it all could just be wrapped up into one. >> david, i'm sure you read the article in your paper penned by bob woodward in which he writes that it was in fact then omb director jack lew who came up with the sequester idea. in fact he has the exact time and date when they first pitched it to senator harry reid, july 27th, 2011. what's your read on that? >> very detailed reporting by bob woodward there. it's an interesting take. certainly the republicans have jumped on. it's been a debate over the last few weeks about who -- actual lit last few months about whose idea this was. you have jack lew, the former chief of staff to the president, up for treasury secretary who said it at a hearing. this was a republican idea. you see the president has sort of hinted at that, too. more recently jay carney at the white house has acknowledged this isn't a white house idea. the republicans are making a big issue of that. as much as the white house is
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fanning the flames of concern now, sounding the alarms this week it was their idea. they're saying the president needs to come and meet us and sort of acknowledge we gave a little bit on the fiscal cliff on taxes and not going to do it this time. that's the strategy the republicans are using to pin it on the white house. >> joann, they're really blaming the gop for the sequester. really by the way does it matter at this point who brought it up? both sides signed on >> exactly. it's funny that the argument that republicans really are choosing to sort of fight on the hill on is whose idea was the original sequester. the problem for them, of course, many more republicans in the house voted for the sequester than democrats. democrats were truly split on it. 95-95. but in the house you had republicans 174 of them voted for it, only 66 voted no. in the senate you had a lot more of the conservative senators voting against it. they were saying because the cuts were weren't draconian enough. the white house in the way got the better of the deal in this sense. they were able to carve out
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medicare, social security, those weren't touched and food stamps which usually republicans like to cut those were left off the table and are not subject to the sequester. meanwhile there were these sweeping defense cuts which a lot of people on the left favored. the problem for democrats, of course, is that the other across the board cuts will hit a lot of programs like home heating, things that are really important to particularly leb al mention. everybody has some pain. but the idea was that these things were so bad that no one would ever let them happen. the problem is now there is an intellectual argument coming from the right that says no, we want these things to happen. this is the only way to get toward a balanced budget. you really do have a split that's more on the right than the left. >> it's interesting, because i want to move on to florida with you, joann. gop governor rick scott doing a 180, now backing medicaid expansion under the president's health care law, a law that he fiercely fought. let's listen to how the governor explained his switch on this issue. >> while the federal government is committed to paying 100% of
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the cost, i cannot in good conscience deny floridaance that needed access to health care. we will support a three-year expansion of our medicaid program under the new health care law. >> you covered florida for years, joann. he says it's about his good conscience. is this about conscience or is this politics? >> it's politics. rick scott has really dismal approval ratings. he's up for re-election in 2014. he's been softening a lot of positions he's held going in. this guy is only known on the national stage because he formed a pac that ran commercials against the idea of obama care. and then as governor he fought the affordable care act all the way to the supreme court, led the states that sued to stop the law. and has said really up until even a couple of months ago he would absolutely not do the medicaid expansion. but the problem is, hospital interest in florida stood to lose something like $33 billion if the 1.3 million floridians without insurance coverage couldn't also get medicaid. without medicaid you have a lot of people who would show up at
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the e.r., about a million of those 1.3 million, who could get care uncompensated by the federal government. so hospital interests have really pushed republicans including scott to take this money. and it's not an if it's three years, it is three years. that's what the law said. they're getting 100%. florida just couldn't afford to say no because hospital interests would go bankrupt literally if they didn't take it. >> guys unfortunately i have to wrap this. this is going down in ohio. we have a republican john case doing the exact same thing, expanding medicaid. good to see you. in office politics, former new york mayor david dinkins offers his views on why some republicans seem to be so against president obama's efforts in the white house. fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business.
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decades of nuclear weapons production. the department of energy says monitors have not detected any significant increase in radiation levels. the pentagon is grounding its entire fleet of f 35 fighter jets after cracked engine blade was found in the air force version of that jet. the navy and marine corps versions will stay on the ground until engineer can figure out how the crack got there. farmers in kansas are rejoicing after a storm left a foot of snow. they've been dealing with a drought for years. the snow is beneficial but won't be quite enough to put water back in parched pond, lakes and rivers. daryl hannah on why her arrest was worth it coming up. my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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[ female announcer ] for beautiful dry mornings, there's pampers. unlike other diapers, pampers has 3 absorbent layers, for up to 12 hours of protection overnight. pampers. new today, president obama says he's going to spend the weekend reaching out to legislators trying to resolve the sequester fight. that's our strategy talk today. peggy noonan is writing that president is using scare tactics to get his way on the sequester. but with the latest polls showing the majority of the
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public backs the president's plans for all of the biggest issues, is he really just giving the people who they voted for? joining me now is tony fratta, white house press secretary under president george w. bush and morris reid of gbr group. good to see you both. >> hey, alex. >> tony, on the deficit, guns, immigration, climate change, the president's plans all have a really comfortable lead there. the republicans talked a lot about learning lessons from the elections and evolving their policies. has anything really changed? >> it's not about how issues poll, alex. if we had based it solely on polling, obama care never would have gotten done, right? we still have to search for a poll that would show the majority of americans anywhere that supported the president's plan on health care reform. so the real test of a president and his team is how can they build coalitions in congress to get done the things that they want to get done. and we're not seeing a lot of success in that right now with the president on the sequester,
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certainly not on climate change. and a lot of questions as to whether he's going to be able to be effective doing it on immigration reform. i'd love to see us get immigration reform done. i'm more pro immigration than the president. i want to see a plan get done, but he doesn't make it easy. >> tony tony tony. >> there's no question about that, morris. >> listen. i know you're pro immigration. more than the president i'm not for sure. >> for sure. >> listen. i have to tell you. the republicans would have more credibility on this if george bush didn't use 9/11 as scare tactics, if mitch mcconnell didn't say his number one objective is to not have barack obama re-elected. the problem comes across as if they will do anything in order to make sure that this president isn't successful. they tried to stop re-election. he's now re-elected. now they're trying to stop him in his pursuit of policy. so alex, it's like they'll work with him at any cost. >> okay. i'm curious do you think there's a chance, morris, of the president overplaying his hand? while his approval numbers are high right now they have dropped
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about 4% just in the last month and a half or so. so do you think there's a chance that he is overplaying things? is there an indication of that being true? >> well, alex, i'm a ron brown democrat. he always taught me it's never as good as you think or bad as you think. of course sometimes we overplay our hands as democrats that's what republicans do it at times. we absolutely have to get something done. believe it or not, the president will be judged as a successful president if he turns the economy around. so we can do all the posturing and filibustering and blame these guys. if we don't move the needle on the economy, he will not be judged as a successful president. >> go ahead, alex. >> no, you go ahead. >> i think we need to find a way to do it in more of a -- some kind of spirit of trust on this, morris, though. i think we're getting to a really difficult place here between both houses of congress and the white house in their ability to function on these issues. i've actually optimistic we are going to get something done on
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immigration reform. i'm not optimistic about almost any other issue that's going to come before the congress for the rest of this year, maybe into 2014. i just don't see the incentives on either side and trust and ability to get deals to get anything done. >> trust, ability, incentive. a lot of that is based on leverage. as i've mentioned today, tony, republicans in congress have an approval rating of oh, 25%. so with numbers like that what is their leverage beyond these self-created crises of the sequester? >> it's compartmentalized with republicans. looking at national numbers on republicans. don't get me wrong. i'd love to seat national republican party polling better. no question about that. but if you look at the districts that republicans are in, there is a view that they are popular in their district. when the president goes out and attacks republicans, there are some republicans out there who say can you please come to my district and attack me here. >> tony it's funny to hear you
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say this. republicans actually lost seats in the congress but gained because of gerrymandering. it's just -- as you know in this business you can screw the numbers any way you want. you guys are playing small ball. and you're falling into some of the pitfalls that the president is laying for you. here's the real challenge for the president. and really this is what you do when you play offense. you move the issues -- you move needle on big issues. go above the party's head. but you have to find some common ground. if you don't find common ground you use the executive order. i know my republican friends hate to hear that. just as the republicans with george bush used it to move his agenda, the president will grow tired of trying to deal with these guys and move to executive order to move the economy forward. >> i'm a big executive branch guy, morris. i love executive orders. and i understand the president is going to try to do that. >> you know what, morris, i want to go with what peggy noonan wrote in her column here. in a way it's all brilliant show biz, scare people into supporting your position. but we've been through it
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before. you wonder again why a triumphant president and a battered republican house majority can't reach a responsible agreement. you remind yourself, why because mr. obama thrives in chaos. >> you know, i respect her prose. she is a very eloquent writer. why wasn't she writing those same prose when george bush was irresponsibly saying that if the democrats were re-elected it would be more 9/11s happening here every day? she has absolutely no credibility. and this goes to the heart of what they're trying to do. they're trying tear this president down at any cost. this is good politics. this is what they wish they could do. and the fact that they can't it's absurd that they're trying to turn it around as if he is the reason that we're having the chaos. >> i think the president's just using the tools in his tool box to try to message on this. both sides are going to try to message on this as best they can. this what is the president's going to do. to call it scare tactics, you can call it whatever you want. the president is standing with first responders and the
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military and the air traffic controller. >> the president does these things, tony, because he won the election. he set an agenda. the american public agrees with our agenda. could you guys stop rehashing the election? >> morris, you're rehashing the election. >> the congress's responsibility is to follow. this is not parliamentary. >> it's not the way the government works, morris. >> there's checks and balances no. a parliamentary system. the president it not your equal. >> morris, i dealt with a democratic majority in congress also, right? i can tell you that was not the view of the democratic leadership when they took control of congress in 2006. so i think it's where you sit is where you stand on some of these things. the president is only going to get to be president for less than another four years. republicans were here before, republicans will be here after his presidency. he needs to ask himself, is this the way he wants his presidency to go or does he want to find
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compromise solutions by the way -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> i have something, a news flash for you. hillary rodham clinton will be a two-term president. you need to get used to having a two-term democrat in the white house. >> she has a lot of experience being the presumed next president. >> wow, morris, did you have to start that so early? up [ overlapping speakers ] >> four years left of barack obama. i just wanted to be clear we're going to have 12 years left of a democratic presidency to deal with. so tony get used to this. [ overlapping speakers ] >> those are future battles, morris. let's try to deal with the ones in front of us now. >> if you guys will play your role we might be able to get something done. >> anything else? okay we're done. morris reid. >> i love tony, by the way. he's fantastic. >> same here, morris.
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>> thanks, you guys. appreciate it. in today's office politics, former new york city mayor david dinkins discusses his long-term relationship with the clip tons. first i ask what he thinks motivates people to come out against president obama. >> i think some degree of it has to be race. sad to say. but it's a fact. see, in my day we never envisioned there would be a black mayor of new york city, much less president of the country. and there are some who still can't stomach it, it seems, because barack obama is a very gifted, accomplished political figure. and he's smart. and people may disagree with him from time to time about policy issues. but i mean, what could be more ridiculous than my friend donald trump with his birther nonsense?
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demands for his birth certificate? i mean, it's ridiculous. >> being the first black mayor of new york city, what was significant about that accomplishment to you? >> one in the sense it had never heretofore occurred, i had a lot of shoulders on which i stood. i supported jesse jackson in '84 and in '88. and in '88 we registered a lot of people in new york city that voted for jesse. those same people came out and voted for me in '89. so i recognize they owe a large degree of my success not only to him but to many others, especially percy sutton who in 1977 said to me one day he was going to run for mayor. i said really? mayor of new york? i mean, black man running for mayor? because percy always had vision. >> he paved the way. >> oh, no question about it. when hillary ran for the senate
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here in new york, as you will recall, there were those that suggested she was a carpet bagger and on and on. but charlie rangel and i and a lot of others supported her candidacy. >> mr. mayor, the reaction from people when you said, i'm supporting hillary clinton over barack obama. how did that go down? >> well, they're not often but there were those who said, how can you support the lady against the brother? and i said, friendship and loyalty. she and bill clinton had been kind and helpful to me. and moreover, i didn't live in illinois. i'm a new york resident. and she was my senator. >> the likely scenarios for 2016, do they include hillary clinton in a run for the presidency? >> i think so. i continue to believe that she is way up there on the list of those persons who might seek the democratic nomination.
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and has a far greater chance of success at one, becoming a democratic nominee, and then of course being elected president. first woman president of the united states. >> you've been married how long now? >> it will be 60 years come august 30th. and we're planning now a big celebration. you're hereby invited. >> thank you. >> and i will probably tell the story of the ditch digger. my bride and i are riding along in the city limb zousine when is a mayor. see a fellow with a shovel digging a ditch. i said, joyce -- that's her name joyce. isn't that the fellow you used to date? not knocking the fellow because he's a ditch digger, but i said, see, if you'd married him you'd
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be the wife of a ditch digger. she said no, if i'd married him he'd be mayor. >> that is so good! most people who are grandparents say it's even better than parenting. >> absolutely. >> why? >> i don't know. a whole lot of mistakes you made with the children you correct. our son swears that i have mellowed over time. he said when he was little, he said i was really severe. and i said no, man. the reason you think that is because you remember your mother saying wait until your father comes home. but i'm the same pussy cat now i was then. >> do you think those that opposed you in office would call you a pussy cat? >> maybe not. >> you may have noticed that photo. indeed that was nelson mandela holding the mayor's grand baby at the time, some 22 years ago. and tomorrow at this time the mayor discusses the highs and lows of his tenure of mayor of new york including the crown
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environmentalists say republicans just today are calling on the president to approve the keystone xl pipeline. among those protesting the pipeline, actress daryl hannah who was recently arrested outside the white house during
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the protest against the project. and hannah is joining me from l.a. to discuss this issue. daryl, welcome. >> thank you. >> look, i know you've been arrested several times protesting this pipeline. tell me why you were so passionately opposed to this project. >> well, the keystone xl pipeline, export pipeline, is really a conduit for further expansion of the dirtiest, largest industrial mine on the planet. and right now it's about the size of the city of chicago, and they plan to expand it to the size of the state of florida. this pipeline is intended to get its product to the gulf of mexico for export. this is not fuel for the united states. we're already processing that fuel in oklahoma, but they want to by pass oklahoma to get it down to the gulf because they aren't able to get it to the coast in canada since the indigenous communities have stopped it from going through their lands. >> so this is not the only oil
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pipeline project in the country. what is it about this one that makes it different and -- is it the size or you're talking about the dirty environmental issues? i mean, what is it that makes this one so volatile? >> well, there's a number of issues. not the least of which is that first of all this is not conventional crude. this is tar sand sludge. it has to be heated. it's called bitamin. it has to be heated to 150 degrees to get it to move through the pipe. it's a very corrosive substance. they had 12 spills in the first 12 months. numerous issues. it holds no benefits for us. we would inherit all the risk. but the main reason obviously is even the world bank issued a report last week that if we don't do something urgently, urgently, to address the climate crisis, that we are looking at major systems collapse, extinctions, dislocation and
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massive suffering if we don't address this. so we have an ethical responsibility. and the tar sands projects is an extremely carbon intensive producing mine. >> but daryl, you're talking about there's no benefits. i imagine you're speaking purely from an environmental ecological standpoint. >> no, no. i'm speaking from every standpoint. there's been a lot of mischaracterizations that this is going to provide a lot of jobs. been mischaracterized as being something that will provide fuel for the united states. but this is an export pipeline. the fuel that we're already receiving from the tar sands is being refined in oklahoma. they need to get it to the coast so that they can get $20 a barrel more for it to export it. >> if there's nothing, i mean, what are the benefits of this project? i can't imagine that there's nothing. >> that's a great question. >> no economic benefits? >> the economic benefits are there for the coke brothers and the people who own the
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refineries down in the gulf of mexico. that's it. that's why there's been such a massive disinformation campaign to confuse people that this has something to do with our gas prices. in fact, the studies show -- there's an independent study on jobs if you want to look it up from cornell. there's a study that shows that in fact this might even make our gas prices rise because the amount of gas that they're going to be shipping to india, perhaps china, will actually lessen the amount of gas that we refine in oklahoma from those -- from that same project. >> can you give me a sense, if you have one, of what the president's going to do? he's postponed making a decision on the pipeline already. >> that's right. well, the president is getting a lot of financial pressure and pressure from lobbyists, the wealthiest corporations on the planet, oil companies, are putting a lot of pressure on him to approve this pipeline. they have a vested interest. they will make billions of dollars. but people, ranchers, farmers, people who are traditionally
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considered conservative and people who are liberal, are fighting this thing. because we know it's not in our best interests. it will go right through our aquifers, our vital water resource systems which we know we cannot jeopardize since we have massive drought and that's projected to continue and wildfires and crop yields are going down. this is not something we can risk just to have a benefit for some billionaires who are going to make more money if they get their product to export. and that's what we really -- it's important to do the research and understand the reality of the situation. because how it's being presented to us and sold to us is not what the truth of the situation is. >> well, actress, active it daryl hannah, i'm really glad for your insights. thank you so much for sharing them with us. >> thank you, alex. new questions about the cost of saving pandas from extinction. are they worth it? ts to be pain? we break out new behr ultra with stain-blocker from the home depot... ...the best selling paint and primer in one that now eliminates stains.
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good day to all of you. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." just past 1:00 p.m. here in the east, 10:00 a.m. out west. we begin in pretoria, south africa where olympic star oscar pistorius is spending his first day out of jail. this is the car driving pistorius into the home of his uncle yesterday after hearing his fate. let's go to nbc's michelle crazinski. michelle, give us a sense of what today must be like for pistorius. >> reporter: well, he hasn't been seen today. we know that he went to the home of his uncle. everyone's assuming that he's still there. he does have a lot of restrictions placed on him. it seemed like the judge really knew there was going to be some outrage if he was released. the judge actually asked that question in court to the defense attorney saying will there be
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community shock if we release him. it actually was interesting. the defense attorney said, well, given the problems that we've seen with some of the state's evidence it will be a shock if he's not released. this release was expected to some extent. but the judge put these restrictions on him. he's not allowed to go back to his own home. remember that was the scene of the alleged crime. he has to surrender his passports, his guns. he's not allowed to use alcohol or drugs. he has to ask permission to leave his town. and he has to check in with police twice a week. the first time he has to check in, we believe, will be monday. so it's possible we'll see him then. we guess that he might show up there with his attorney. but i think what's really interesting today is that for the first time, we're hearing a lot of comment from rehave seen steinkamp's family. he said the only ones who know
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what happened was pistorius and god. he said no matter how great his legal team is he's going to have to live with his conscience. he will suffer if he's not telling the truth. if he has been telling the truth, her father said that one day he thinks he may be able to forgive him. so that was sort of the news that we heard coming from her side of the family. we really haven't heard much from them before. they've been in a deep state of mourning. pistorius's family has also been extremely emotional and they expressed a lot of relief once that bail ruling was announced yesterday, alex. >> yes. you know, michelle, here we have you leading the show. you've been leading nightly newscasts. i can only imagine right there what this coverage is like. can you put that in perspective for us? is it everywhere? >> reporter: sort of. i mean, it hasn't been kind of a mad crush that you might see with -- i didn't cover the o.j. simpson trial. i know there have been a lot of comparisons made between that and this preliminary. since this has not gone to trial yet. but there was the mad crush of
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press from around the world. everybody literally pushing and shoving. one journalist passed out one day. because remember, it's close to 100 degrees here. and waiting outside to get in. it's all over the newspapers and television here. gigantic pictures on the front pages. sensational headlines. and i think what's been most interesting is seeing debate on the street. i was walking to our satellite truck from our live shot the other day, and i saw this group of people making a lot of noise. i kind of wondered oh, i wonder what that's about. it sounded like they were in a big fight. as i got closer, they were arguing about this case. did they believe pistorius's story or not. trying to re-enact part of it. how could this have been? and they were so passionate about it. that really told me how much people in the community care about this. they want to see how it turns out. but they also want to see justice done. and just like rehave steenkamp's father says, the only account we really know from somebody who
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was at that scene was is oscar pistorius. let's go to politics now. new today president obama is urging congress to compromise with just six days until the sequester triggers those massive budget cuts. republicans say it's the president who won't budge. >> they can cut spending in a smart way and close wasteful loopholes for the well off and well-connected. unfortunately it appears that republicans in congress have decided that instead of compromising, instead of asking anything of the wealthiest americans, they'd rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class. >> president obama, however, not only wants higher taxes, he's actually preventing economic growth and private sector job creation. he is blocking it with more regulation, red tape and bureaucracy. >> joining me now political reporter for "u.s. news and world report" and msnbc contributor. hello to the both of you. so let's look at the calendar
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here, lauren. six days now away from the sequester. give me your assessment. is this a foregone conclusion? >> i think we are definitely going to see sequestration happen. but there's going to be a lot of drama next week. we're going to turn to the senate. republicans and democrats are both expected or democrats have already introduced legislation that they're going vote on. so democrats want to see 50-50 replacement of the sequester with 50% spending cuts and 50% tax increases through new revenues. so we're going to see them vote on that. and republicans have even kind of thrown around this idea that maybe they'll pass a bill that would give the president more onus over the cuts so that he could kind of pick where those cuts would go. it would also kind of make him more politically vulnerable when it came to sequestration. >> george will suggesting the sequester is manufactured. here's what he wroets. "sensible americans, tuckered out with apocalypse fatigue, are yawning through the catastrophe
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du jour, the sequester." how much of the sequester drama is manufactured? and even if some of it is, aren't regular americans going to feel it, anyway? >> yes. i think he's wrong about this. i mean, there are two things i would say. one, if you go look at the local newspapers in virginia, in wisconsin, the local news, i've done a little bit of this. you can see people on the front pages of the papers have the sequester on the news. i don't think it's being ignored in regular america, in part because so many people work for the federal government. the second thing is, it actually does affect real people. starting in april a lot of federal workers, like 1 million federal workers will face these fur lows. they actually really matter. particularly in virginia and maryland, states where a lot of spending comes from the federal government. i don't think this is a manufactured crisis at all. >> okay. lauren, let's look at polls. usa today, pew poll shows republicans widely in favor of president obama's approach on the sequester. on the other hand you have republicans, some of them tea partiers, they feel beholden to their local constituents to not
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raise taxes another penny. so does neither party have incentive to resolve the sequester fight quickly? >> you know, nationally in that same pew poll it showed that republicans in the house of representatives had about 25% of the american support. but back in their districts they are very popular. and they have campaigned on this issue of not raising taxes, not getting new revenue because they think every time we get new revenue the president just spends it. so democrats are dug in and republicans are dug in i don't really think there's much incentive here for either side to compromise on this issue. because it's popular with both their constituencies. >> so compromise, perry. where does this lie? does it lie around loopholes, closing them or allowing them to close? >> there's a couple of things going on here. the first is that you can really imagine that something happening on april 1st. the big deadline is not march 1st but march 27th when the current funding for the government runs out. you can imagine some kind of agreement that reaches a sort of
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nails the sequester and government funding into one bill and has some spending cuts but not the kind of draconian ones in the sequester. the core issue is at taxes. taxes taxes taxes. the republicans do not want to increase taxes twice in three months. the president is basically saying, i want on raising taxes more and i'm going to keep insisting upon that. and the public is with me because most polls so that the public would like a deal that includes tax increases as well as spending cuts. so the president is not going to take a republican issue when the republicans have a 14% approval rating and president has 55% approval rating up. hard to concede when you're that popular and president of the united states. >> lauren, for once there are no political winners in washington. that is the title of your latest article for the "u.s. news and world report" on the sequester. what do you mean by that? >> when the president has been out kind of explaining how detrimental these cuts are going to be. and i think that maybe part of this is he knows it's going to happen. so he's going to go out, get the public opinion on his side. but what's tough is that if this
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actually happens and it does affect the economy the way that some people have said it might, nobody wins here, right? the president looks bad. because when the economy tanks everyone in america looks at the white house and says this is your fault. but at the same time, people may blame the republicans because they didn't do anything to prevent it in terms of people have the opinion that they're obstructionist. so i think both side here are politically liable if the economy tanks with this. >> perry, people always say the president didn't reach out enough to capitol hill, to democrats and certainly republicans. in fact he did make calls on thursday to house speaker boehner, senate minority leader mcconnell. did those calls yeed anything? >> no. those calls are purely about optics. the president was criticized earlier this time week by republicans he's not reaching out. he made these sort of perfunctory calls. the reality is there's a fundamental difference on positions here. the republicans do not want tax increases. president obama does.
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it doesn't matter how much prose tries to sweet talk them that's not the problem. it's the fundamental difference on issues. >> okay. lauren fox, perry bacon jr., nice talk with youth wii you y. thanks so much. the effects of sequester that could show up at dinnertime. i'm going to speak with congresswoman particular sha blackburn about what the gop can do to deal with cuts. the windy city got about four inches of heavy snow, the most accumulation in the northern suburbs. moving to kansas, the snow is way too much for the roof at this local business. the auto shop has been around for about 60 years. but it's still too soon to tell if that building is a complete loss. although we did get our tapes mixed up there. i think that was about the rockies which are expected to get 6 to 9 inches of snow today from a storm that will move into the early m into the midwest by early next week. and check out this dog that
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found itself stranded on ice floes there. the dog jumping from one ice fragment to another yesterday. this is all happening in lake michigan. a resident who sought dog put on a wetsuit, went out on a kayak to try to rescue the pooch. the dog was like i am out of here. i'm run off on my own and was eventually rescued. it spent the night in animal control shelter. is expected to be reunited with its owner sometime today. talk about a lucky dog, right? the journalist who spoke to the navy s.e.a.l. who took out osama bin laden and why the pentagon is investigating that american hero. they're cute, cuddly and endangered. but are pandas worth saving? one noted wildlife expert says no. h. ♪ doing it with a cold, just not going to happen. ♪ vicks dayquil powerful non-drowsy 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪ no matter what city you're playing tomorrow. [ coughs ]
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the pentagon has grounded
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all 51 of its f 35 fighter planes after a routine inspection found a cracked engine blade. it is the most expensive war plane ever. the pentagon plans to buy 4500 of them for $10 billion. the f 35 is the subject of our quote of the week from a piece in "time" magazine. former pentagon chief weapons tester tom kristi saying "there's always this sexual drive for a new airplane on the part of each service, persistent, urgent and natural." it was reported this week the pentagon is now investigating the former s.e.a.l. six team member who admitted in an interview with esquire magazine he was the one who killed osama bin laden. the pentagon is looking into whether any classified information was leaked in the now controversial article. joining me now, the man who interviewed the shooter, phil bronstein, executive chairman of the center for investigative reporting. phil, welcome. nice to see you. >> thanks for having me. >> let's get your reaction first of all the pentagon
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investigating the man you interviewed. are you surprised by that? >> the pentagon has its job to do. i think it came up at a press briefing where a spokesman for the bg was asked what they're doing about it. i think what they said is they're reviewing it to see if there were any problems. in fact, the special operations command which oversees special operations including s.e.a.l. team six has already said they don't really see much of a problem in there in term of classified information. and keep in mind, alex, there have been movies, there have been books, there have been other articles, there have been documentaries all about the raid. there's very little. it's passed into kind of american folklore at this point. there's really very little that's new. what's new in the esquire story was essentially this guy's perspective. >> was he saying to you when you were doing the interview, did he say look, i can't talk about this because it's classified? was he aware of that? did he make that clear to you? >> yeah. i mean it was an evolution. an evolution that took place over about a year and a quarter
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where he wanted to talk about it but he really wanted to talk about this larger issue of how these guys are treated once they leave the service. he left at 16 years, four shy of the 20 for retirement. so he got no pension, no health care for his family, and no protection. if his name comes out, which it very well might, he cowl be a serious target. >> oh, yeah. do you think the pentagon is putting this out there that they're at least looking into whether it's investigating or whatever looking into the esquire article for possible violations, do you think they're trying to punish him? >> well, i think there is a kind of brotherhood about particularly s.e.a.l. team six but i think all special forces. and i think that the ethos of it is you don't talk about what you do. the problem, of course, is then when you transition out into civilian life, not only do you have a whole host of problems that we've heard about, that veterans have in general, but you can't talk about what you've done. what do you put on a resume'? how do you get a job that's
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commencome commensurate with the skills you've learned, in his case 16 years as a navy s.e.a.l. >> it's a very exclusive club when you talk to this man. what can you tell me about him? >> he's got a great sense of humor. something i think all s.e.a.l. team six members have to have. they prank each other all the time. they're very funny. he's very focused. this applies to all of them. he's no different than his partners in s.e.a.l. team six. any one of them by the way could have shot bin laden. he makes that clear. just happened to be he was at that place at that moment in time. but they're very focused. they're very aggressive. they're very organized. they perform extraordinarily well under pressure. and the interesting thing is these are all skills that he has and they have that are translatable at pretty high levels into corporate america, for instance. so we've talked to ceos on the outside, ceos of companies like twitter who are very interested in helping these guys make the transition. we're hoping that that happens.
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>> yeah. last week, phil, i spoke with former navy s.e.a.l. brandon webb about your story. let's take a listen to what he said. >> i personally think he had some type of motive behind why he would talk to esquire. i think the article puts the s.e.a.l. community in a real -- the way they framed it puts us in a real bad light. it comes off a bit as whining so to speak. >> what do you think about that comment? is there any sort of ulterior mo motive? if so what would it be? >> the shooter in our story did not write a book. others have written books and made a lot of money. he's not capitalized. his name has stayed out of the press. he's not been identified for now. almost a couple weeks. so i think -- i understand the concerns. but i think it's clear that his motive is the greater good, trying to get this issue out in front of capitol hill and out in front of the private enterprise community to help these guys. and i think it's a shame, there's a lot of sniping back and forth. it's kind of the way it is.
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but what this story did, alex, it presented the navy s.e.a.l.s and s.e.a.l. team six as human beings, not some jason bourn cartoon. i think ultimately that's a service to them. because they are human beings. and they do have lives once they get out of the service. >> did he talk about standing face-to-face with osama bin laden? >> he did. in some detail. i mean, you should read the story and get the full version. >> i have. i want you to share it, though, with the viewers. >> okay. basically in that moment he sort of rolled into the room after the point man who had been in front of him up to the third floor. had tackled these two women. very bravely. because they thought they all had suicide vests on. the shooter rolled into the bedroom and literally a foot away was osama bin laden with his hands on his youngest wife amal's shoulders, either pushing her forward or being led by her. remember it was pitch dark for all the residents. the s.e.a.l.s obviously had night vision goggles on. he said the first thing he noticed was how extraordinarily
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tall. he didn't expect him to be that tall. he had to aim his gun up. he noticed his hair was quite short. his beard was quite short. he looked a little confused. the s.e.a.l. did what they are trained to do. >> it took just a split second, right? it was over boom like that. >> oh, like that. and of course these things if you're there, if you're the person, they seem to last forever. but the whole thing took seconds. literally seconds. >> there were some real grave concern. didn't he have that thought process. now i'm into this mess, if you will. how am i going to get out when the chopper crashed inside the compound, right? they were worried that they were going to get there before the pakistani military might get there. >> well, there have been all sorts of conversations before they went on the mission about what happens if the pakistani military and government grabs them and throws them in jail. there was a talk about joe biden perhaps coming in and new yo negotiating their way out. he thought about stealing cars and driving to islamabad. fortunately they didn't have to
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do that. there was the ongoing concern how do we make this mission worked. they're very focused on executing the mission. >> yeah. i know that he's trying to get attention for veterans. and the issues that they have. he met with members of congress to talk about veterans' benefits. do you have any confidence something will come of that? >> well, you've just been talking about sequestration. congress is not moving very fast on that stuff. but i will say they was there just as an observer, as a journalist for all these meetings on the hill. he met with a very high level and bipartisan group of senators and members of congress. and they all were quite moved by his circumstance and the circumstance of all these guys. and they were presented with some possibilities of things they can do that don't require legislation, don't require a lot of additional money. but some creativity in helping support these people who vice president biden said are the world's greatest warriors in the history of the world. >> let's hope something comes of those discussions. phil bronstein, you're welcome
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anytime. thanks so much. >> thanks, alex. up next the three big money headlines, including one item on the oscars' must have list. everyone's hair breaks. dare to see the difference with pantene anti-breakage. reduces hair fall up to 97%. get less hair fall. ♪ i took the dare. will you? anti-breakage. pantene. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory
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big three money headlines, one tax that's taking a big hit on your paychecks. crude awakening and hollywood swag. as we talk payroll taxes, they're certainly back. is that taking the fun out of shopping? >> that's definitely one way to put it, looeks. a lot of -- national retail federation came out with a report saying consumers are definitely going to cut back on spending on discretionary items like going out to dinner more, shopping, spending money on items that they may not need like their big items that are turn-wi
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furniture-wise. people making $30,000 are going to take a $50 hit per month to their paychecks. people making $100,000 will take a bigger impact. >> tough on shopping. that's for sure. what about the happy campers or lack thereof at the gas pumps these days. >> the gas prices are definitely going up as we can see. they're at $3.70. analysts are saying it's probably going to go up between 30 cents to 50 cents. but that's not going to impact -- it's not going to -- analysts are expecting that to kind of go on. this really has to do with the fact that these analysts are speculating that it has to do with middle east crisis. possible natural disasters. and also refinery issues. what's happening, we can't discount what's happening in southern california right now. the prices in southern california, alex, $5.20 a gallon. >> i hate hearing that. what about the oscar swag, speaking of southern california? it's a little lighter this year. >> right. i guess if you can call $48,000
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a little lighter. but compared to last year, $60,000 it is definitely lighter. what's happening, the reason why they're so expensive is because they keep adding in these trips to these oscar swag bags. but now this year it's hitting a five-year low. but some of the items that are included, this is some of my favorites. some botox injectables for your face. also these plates that are portion control. so if you don't win the oscar, you can definitely get a portion controlled plate as one of your conciliatory prices there, alex. >> okay. if you say so. thank you for that. >> thanks so much. coming up, the global effort to save the panda. why one scientist thinks it's just not worth it. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do.
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from capital one... boris earns unlimited rewards for his small business. can i get the smith contract, please? thank you. that's three new paper shredders. [ boris ] put 'em on my spark card. [ garth ] boris' small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase every day. great businesses deserve unlimited rewards. read back the chicken's testimony, please. "buk, buk, bukka!" [ male announcer ] get the spark business card from capital one and earn unlimited rewards. choose 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase every day. told you i'd get half. what's in your wallet? welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." as washington tries to avert another fiscal crisis people across the nation are bracing for the effects should the sequester kick in on march 1st. just about every agency
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including the transportation department which oversees air traffic control will be impacted. nbc's michelle franzen has more on what's in store if washington misses the sequester deadline. michelle. >> reporter: alex, like you said just about every federal agency could feel the brunt of the automatic cuts if washington can't reach a deal by friday. the defense department could take the biggest hit. they could see a cut of nearly $43 billion which will impact weapons purchases and base operations. under the sequester we could see nearly 1 million layoffs, including 800,000 civilian defense department workers, 10,000 teachers and educators, and about 1,000 fbi and border patrol agents. but the sequester will touch on every life of americans in some ways that they don't even realize. for example, the basic commodity of meat. consumers could face a shortage of meat as the agriculture department might be forced to furlough meat inspectors up to 15 days. in the country's national parks, a 5% budget cut could force the parks service to slash services,
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shorten visiting hours and even force them to close off some areas to visitors. as transportation secretary lahood explained air travel could also come to a crawl. >> travellers should expect delays. flights to major cities like new york, chicago and san francisco and others, could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because we have fewer controllers on staff. >> reporter: meantime in washington, president obama plans to speak with congress this weekend to avert another crisis. but both sides are ramping up the blame game. listen to what the president said about the looming sequester during a press conference yesterday. >> i never think that anything's inevitable. we always have the opportunity to make the right decisions. my hope is is that we can see a different course taken by congress. this should be a no-brainer. >> reporter: solutions the president is confident will work. but unless he can cut a deal
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with congress, alex, we could see drastic changes kick in this time next week. >> all right, michelle frandsze thank you for that. >> joining me now with reaction republican congresswoman marcia blackburn. representative blackburn, nice to have you back to the show. >> good to be with you, laenale >> the president says this is a no-brainer and says the congress can stop the sequester at any time. how do you respond to that? >> well, i find it all very interesting. because we didn't have to be in this situation in the first place. if the senate would have taken up any of the bills we had last year that would have addressed this. and the house passed them. some of them with bipartisan support, alex. sent them to the senate. they chose not to take them up. we have chairman mckie on chairman of the armed services committee who has the legislation that would freeze federal salaries, freeze the bureaucracy salaries for a three-year period of time that
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would forestall the sequester on d.o.d. for a year. i mean, my goodness. there are solutions there. but let me tell you this. if you were out with me this morning talking to the national guard, meeting with constituents, going to a pancake breakfast, you would have heard people say, marcia, 2% discretionary cut? that's a good start. let's make it 10%. and let's protect the military. don't cut them. get over here and make cuts into these federal agencies. get rid of these redundant programs. let's make certain that government is smarter and more efficient and use this as an opportunity. >> now i'll ask you, were any of those of your constituents, i presume, with whom you were speaking, were these folks who might lose their job as a consequence of the sequester? >> i had a great e-mail from someone yesterday who has done some supply work for the military that is going to lose a contract and part of a contract. and they were saying, you all
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have got to get this federal spending under control. and when you talk about those that are involved with protecting our nation, they are incredibly concerned about what the debt is doing to our nation's security. you know, admiral mullen had said on july 6th of 2010, the greatest threat to our nation's security is our nation's debt. so they realize this is not going to be easy. our small businesses know this isn't going to be easy. but they know discretionary spending has to be cut, entitlements have to be reformed and medicare and social security our trust funds have to be stabilized. and americans are up to the challenge on this. >> what about, though, the prospect of closing some of the tax loopholes? this is something that even mitt romney, your party's candidate, campaigned on. but now the president is making these suggestions, and all of a sudden it's a moot point, something that republicans don't want to do.
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where is the problem here? is it because the president's proposing it? >> no. and i would disagree with you just a little bit on that. we have long advocated for cleaning up the tax code and doing tax reform is one of the things on our to do list this year. and even when you look at some of these loan guarantee programs like the department of energy, my goodness, it is just waste, fraud and abuse run amuck. and now we're finding out that some of those that got some of these loans are being sold to china, interesting in china and other areas that may not wish us well that. causes us concern also. so it's an opportunity there again to go clean up some of these loan guarantee programs, get rid of some of these redundancies. do we really need 80 different economic development programs that are coming through the department of commerce? do we need 100 economic development programs coming
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through transportation? do we need 82 different teacher quality programs in the department of education? those are the questions that should be asked. and our constituents are saying, hold firm. stay with this. let's get government on the track that it should be so that our future is sustainable. >> that may be. but if you look at some opinion polls here, this one from usa today, the majority of americans are supporting the white house's plans for all these major issues. do you worry at all that the republican party is not on the right side of public opinion? >> i think that what people, many people, whether they support the president or us, what they're saying is washington doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. and we want this issue addressed. we want government to be right sized. and if you look at some of the verbatims on that, they're not saying go spend more.
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what they're saying is, you need to be spending less. and don't waste our money. and we hear it repeatedly. i have to tell you, there are many of us that are in congress that served in state legislatures. and state legislatures have long used the process of going in and doing across the board cuts, providing flexibility, which is something we want to do with the department of defense, providing flexibility to departments so that when you make cuts you say, look, you got $1,000 last year. we're going to give you a 10% cut. you're going to have $900. you go find where you want to make those cuts. now, that process works in right sizing government. and people want us to have a smart, responsive, affordable, efficient government. and we're going to have to use this as an opportunity to put us on that track. >> so does march 1st come and go with or without a deal?
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>> i would hope that march 1st comes with the president coming and working with us, alex. i have to tell you, it has been so deeply disappointing to me to see him go out and campaign rather than coming to the hill and saying, let's work through this together. because it's for the good of the american people. >> well, we do know that the president, though, has reached out to mitch mcconnell and john boehner and made calls to them. we will see if those calls yeed any information. >> calls were made yesterday. a call was placed yesterday. it was the first time. but see, there again, through the fiscal cliff issues, we should have been working on this. he should have been working with us on an ongoing basis. >> well, we're going to see what happens. >> hopefully we'll see that happen. >> now that congress is back in session on monday. congresswoman marcia blackburn of tennessee. thanks so much. hello, looeks. we'll go behind the washington brinksmanship over the impending sequester cuts with congressman
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charlie rangel and with outspoken former republican congressman steve latourret. also further resistance to the white house efforts to curb gun violence. there's a nation-wide protest under way now. we'll bring that to you live. all that and the first ladies new moves over the course of the next hour. coming up with the next big three accusing the president by governing by freak out and why. ♪ no two people have the same financial goals. pnc works with you to understand yours and help plan for your retirement. visit a branch or call now for your personal retirement review. today is gonna be an important day for us. you ready? we wanna be our brother's keeper. what's number two we wanna do?
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in crisis again? with friends like these and best week worst week. let's bring in the big three panel. molly ball, susan delpersio. and founder of spike the water cooler. welcome, ladies, nice to see you all. susan i'll begin with you. this new usa today poll shows 49% of americans would blame congressional republicans for not reaching a deal. 31% would blame president obama. is that an indication to you
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that republicans need to change tactics? >> what it's an indication of is that washington needs to change tactics. both republicans and democrats and the president signed on to sequestration. it was a big mistake. we said oh, it would never get that far. well, it did and it was self-inflicted. all of them need to step up, take responsibility. for the life of me, i don't know why they're not trying to get a bigger deal. it would be to both side's benefits to get this off the table for two years. >> marjorie, look at the "wall street journal" in which peggy noonan writes "the president and his people overestimate his position in this 50-50 country. the president looks strong now, but governing by freakout has too many costs. again he's overplaying his hand." is she right? >> well, i think again this is a congressional issue. i think the president has some push here. but this is something that was inherently built by congress and needs to be solved by congress. however, i will say favorability ratings, you're right, they can be fickle and they can change. i think losing on this issue, republicans and democrats both
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already looking to who can we blame if this doesn't work. that is not the right slugs right now. we need to figure out how do we make it work. i think largely the american people don't quite understand that the impact it's going to have on them as we talked about lahood, shutting down controllers, delays in flights. there are things that will impact each one of us that we don't quite understand. though cutting spending all americans want. >> shutting down flights, delaying, i get worried about the security of those flights, too. air traffic controllers. everybody is worried about that. molly as we look at the sequester deadline march 1st, friday, then there's this continuing resolution with all the spending authority for the government running out in late march. i think it's the 27th. then let's look ahead to summer. the debt ceiling. how does one play against the other here? >> well, like you say, it's just this continuing series of deadlines. we've seen what a way washington has with deadlines. either they blow through them because they don't take them seriously or they go right up until the last minute. and i think especially with this being the -- it is exhausting.
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and i think people are worn out, too. they feel like -- i think part of the reason that people aren't taking these warnings very seriously is they feel like congress and the president have been sort of crying wolf for a year and a half now since the first debt ceiling fight. and they're just tired of being told that the sky is falling when it never actually does. the government never actually shuts down. the stock market doesn't tank. so they'll sort of believe it when they see it. >> susan, let's go to our next topic with friends like these. we have senator john mccain who told a crowd during a town hall in arizona this week specifically concerning immigration reform. here's some of that. >> cut off their welfare, their stuff and they'll go back. [ applause ] >> you're a senator with the federal government. and you're doing nothing about it. you said build the dang fence. where's the fence? >> on the list that i showed you. >> it's not a fence. >> it's not a fence. it's a banana.
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we put up a banana with about $600 million worth of appropriations. >> the gop is supposed to be shifting on immigration. can republicans really make progress on the issue when you've got one of the main senators on this issue being attacked by his own constituents? >> and this is an issue that definitely has a big impact on the republican party. but what we need to do is see elected officials, republicans and democrats, step up and not worry about being primaried and do what's right. the fact is that we need to have a path for citizenship. we need to see a reform in immigration. we should simply do it without worrying about extreme -- primary from the extreme right or the democrats also are very concerned in looking at 2014 that they may be facing tough races in their own states. so they have to step up as well. >> we've got to play a little more of that town hall. listen to this closely. here we go. >> you're going to round up 11 million people and send them back to their country? you're not going to do that. they're not going to do that. they are notthat.
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>> you're saying it's 11 million. it's more like 30 million. >> you're not telling the truth. you're not telling the fact. the fact is -- no, no, i have to stop you when you're telling these people something that's untrue. >> are the people in that audience representatives of the majority of the republicans or just the ones that will turn out for this kind of a meeting. >> i think it's a noisy minority and one thing that we know this time is that members of congress were prepared for this. the last time we had a big fight over immigration in 2006-2007 and this seemed to come out of nowhere and it it blindsided a lot of people and the outpouring of anger and activism surprised a lot of lawmakers who didn't realize it was such a hot button. the groundwork has been laid much more carefully and someone like senator mccain, he's a grouchy guy who can argue back and he can take it. the question is do others who are maybe softer on this issue have the courage of their
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convicts. immigration advocates are feeling very good about that right now, but that will be the question. >> you have john mccain and he's the onewoone addressing that is and is that a sign that the republicans are -- you have to look at it back when he was making a presidential bid. >> all of a sudden he completely withdrew his support of immigration reform and spoke about the party at the time and we saw coming out of this last election is the immigration reform, we know that among latino voters, the largest population of voters in the united states this is one of the top issues for them. so if republicans have a prayer at the white house, they know they've got to have a strong effort to get to the white house and as mentioned it is a very noisy minority and 60% of americans support path to citizenship and we look at the numbers and $48 billion will be pumped into our economy, social security and all of our programs with the legalization of this group of immigrants. so i think there's no question. housing prices alone would go up
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30% without this group of immigrant workers critical to the economy and republicans realize that. you have a noisy minority on this issue. >> okay. coming up next, the big three's best and worst of the week. we loaded it with fast food, sweaty hockey gear, and a smelly dog cage. and parked it at a mall. in texas. for two days. then put a febreze car vent clip on the dash and let in real people. it smells good. like laundry fresh out of like the dryer. yeah. a man fresh out of the shower. nailed it. oh yeah. proof. febreze car vent clips keep your car fresh. another way febreze helps you breathe happy. ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor
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pandas are adorable and high up on the endangered species list, but is that reason enough to do whatever it takes to save them? a growing group of wild life experts and critics say with so many species going extinct it makes no sense to spend so much money trying to save one. all of the pandas will most likely spend their lives in zoos and not in the wild. others say we should do everything we can to prevent the animal from going extinct. i'll bet a lot of you agree based on these adorable pictures. >> mole, you'ly, you're up firs. >> i'm tempted to switch to pandas, but i will stick with my
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first choice. the anti-chuck hagel campaigners, they thought they would find are find a smoke gun and derail his chances as secretary of state of defense. the evidence fell apart and they kind of look ridiculous. >> best week. i'm going toy is sequestration. everybody hates it, but if you're the sequester you're sitting pretty and it looks like you are going to happen very soon. >> that could be interpreted many ways. >> best and worst. >> worst week, jesse jackson, jr., pleading guilty to felony fraud is a big deal and chris christie, he has a 74% approval rating in new jersey and is picking up endorsements from democrats. >> wow! okay. that is good for him. marjorie, what about you? >> best week, state of maryland abolished the death penalty and joined other states and it makes no sense. $2 million per execution and does nothing to deter criminal
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today. it's an exciting move. worst week, lindsay graham leading the chuck hagel and tee took a tea party pill. he's been calling it an unreasonable, radical choice and unfortunately, he's not going to win on this, i home. >> it looks like you and mole are thinking alike on this front. marjorie clifton, thank you so much, girls. that is a wrap up of weekends with alex witt. up next, craig melvin. have a great one. [ coughs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] you can't let a cold keep you up tonight. vicks nyquil -- powerful nighttime 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪ ♪ they hatin' ♪ patrolling they tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ♪ ♪ tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty ♪ ♪ tryin' to -- [ woman ] hi there. why do we always have to take your mom's car?

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